|Well of All Sparks.|
Who Is Thirteen Prime Transformers?
We are the 13, the first, the forgotten, each of us serving a function vital to the survival of the universe. Each of us designated a Prime and given a function to serve during the long march of infinity.
Vector Prime, "Vector Prime: In the Beginning"
The Thirteen are the first Transformers created by Primus. Rightfully huge and powerful, each was designated a Prime, and given unique roles and natures to battle Primus's ancient foe Unicron.
Despite how often their importance is trumpeted, the fact of the matter is, the concept of the Thirteen hasn't actually been around that long, hasn't been related in much detail, and hasn't been presented in a very linear manner. The development of the concept is described in this section to minimize confusion; for details of their history and actions in specific bits of fiction, see below.
The very earliest seeds of the Thirteen can probably be found in material produced by 3H Productions for BotCon, most notably 2000's "Covenant". This story introduces the undeniably similar concept of the Covenant, a group of twelve zodiac-themed robots who are the first creations of Primus, created as a test-run for the Transformer race. Despite the basic similarity between the Covenant and the Thirteen, though, the two groups have not been connected, and those same stories by 3H would ultimately contradict the later lore of the Thirteen by introducing Primon, a Matrix-bearer who preceded Prima, which should not be possible.
It was in the pages of 2004's Transformers: The Ultimate Guide that the mysterious "Thirteen Original Transformers" were first spoken of, and their basic origin was laid down: they were the first Transformers created by Primus to battle Unicron, and their number included Prima, the first Matrix-bearer from the Marvel Comics series and The Fallen, an enigmatic servant of Unicron from Dreamwave Productions' 2003 comic, War Within: The Dark Ages. The book also noted that if Alignment had been published, the Liege Maximo, an ancient evil Cybertronian from the Generation 2 comics, would have been counted among them as well (retroactively, of course, since Alignment predated the idea of the Thirteen).
The book also contained a passing mention that the enigmatic manager of Maccadam's Old Oil House, a Cybertronian pub introduced in the UK Generation 1 Marvel Comics, was rumored to be one of the Thirteen (though it also admits that this could be a fabrication by the pub's drunken patrons). Not surprisingly, it was the creator of all four of these characters, Simon Furman, who both wrote the guide and conceived the idea of the Thirteen. While it was Furman who also created the Covenant, it is not yet known whether or not he was deliberately drawing upon his old idea when he introduced the Thirteen in this book.
The concept of the Thirteen quietly bubbled under for the next year, until another element was added with the introduction of Vector Prime in 2005's Cybertron series. Although presented merely as a very ancient Autobot in the original Japanese version of the Cybertron cartoon, Hasbro envisioned him as one of the Thirteen, and writer Forest Lee made this explicit in the first story produced for the Transformers Collectors' Club. This story also introduced the idea that all of the Thirteen were Primes, and that each had a specific function or purpose; Vector Prime's was stewardship of time, while a 2007 bio written for The Fallen's Titanium Series toy would later reveal he was the overseer of entropy. Between these two releases, in 2006, the short Japanese text story Beast Wars Reborn introduced Logos Prime; as a Japanese creation, his status among the Thirteen would be in question for years not because of anything in the fiction itself—which was pretty clear-cut on the matter—but purely because fans doubted that Hasbro were aware of the character.
While it was not immediately apparent, Hasbro had put a plan in motion for the Thirteen with the Collectors' Club comic: across the next five years, five separate robots were introduced who were gradually revealed to be components of a combiner, Nexus Prime, who was one of the Thirteen. During this five-year span, the subject of the Thirteen often came up at BotCon Q&A sessions, during which the idea of them being multiversal singularities solidified.
Also during this time, current Transformers comic license holders IDW Publishing spoke often of a potential comic book mini-series about the Thirteen to be written by Simon Furman, but this was eventually nixed, with Furman noting in 2009 that this was because it had "become more of a Hasbro thing than an IDW thing." Hasbro's desire to control and fully conceptualize the story of the Thirteen was further made evident when, after Fun Publications' Nexus Prime story concluded in the same year, they effectively took "custody" of the character as part of their future plans. This control, however, was evidently not all-encompassing: also in 2009, The Fallen made a surprising appearance as the titular villain of the second-live action Transformers film, Revenge of the Fallen, where he was a member not of a group of thirteen, but only seven Primes. Hasbro's October 2009 online Q&A retroactively justified this by explaining that while all the Thirteen were Primes, only seven actually had the word "Prime" in their names.
Eventually, in 2010, the grand scope of the new Aligned continuity family became the "delivery method" for Hasbro's long-percolating tale of the Thirteen. However, the "Aligned" continuity was also established to not be part of the multiverse in which all preceding Transformers fiction took place, which until then had lain the groundwork for the Thirteen. As such, the new information introduced by the Aligned continuity was only true for that continuity, and even chose to ignore or overrule some previous pieces of the story that had been revealed in "Multiverse" stories—The Fallen was given a much more tragic origin story that involved no connection to Unicron, Logos Prime was not included in the ranked of the "Aligned Thirteen" (which does not preclude his inclusion in the "Multiverse Thirteen"), while Alpha Trion was named as a member of the Aligned group, while he cannot possibly be a member of the Multiverse group given the established existence of alternate versions of himself (most significantly, his evil mirror universe Shattered Glass self.
It was the novel Transformers: Exodus which revealed Trion to be one of the Thirteen, and which also revealed the Fallen's real name to be "Megatronus". New "Aligned" designs for Megatronus (and his "Fallen" form), Prima, Vector Prime, Alpha Trion and the now-canonized Liege Maximo were revealed at BotCon 2010, with the new designs for Nexus Prime and newcomer Solus Prime revealed the following year at BotCon 2011. It was here that it was explained that each of the Thirteen represented one aspect of the Transformer race, their ranks also including a beast-mode Transformer and a Mini-Con. Solus would later factor into the Transformers: Exiles novel, which also introduced Amalgamous Prime and Alchemist Prime. Right around this time, the story of the Thirteen finally made the leap to the small screen, when, after years of being consigned to fan-targeted comics and convention panels, their origin tale was told in the Transformers: Prime episode, "One Shall Rise, Part 1".
Finally, in December 2013, Transformers: The Covenant of Primus was released, detailing in full the complete history of the Thirteen in the Aligned Continuity.
Within the multiverse in which most Transformers fiction occurs, the Thirteen are multiversal singularities—across all the different universal streams, only one incarnation of each of the Thirteen exists, moving between worlds. The group's roster has not been fully revealed, and known members include:
Prima - The first Matrix-bearer and first Transformer born from Cybertron, the leader of the Thirteen.
Vector Prime - The guardian of space and time, who spent most of his life outside of reality, observing it and occasionally stepping in to help.
The Fallen - Formerly the guardian of entropy, whose true name was stricken from history when he betrayed his brothers and became a Herald of Unicron.
Nexus Prime - The first combiner, and the guardian of Rarified Energon.
Logos Prime— an enigmatic figure who, in the present day, sought to pass on his incredible powers over time and space to an heir.
The Liege Maximo was implied to be one of the group, but has not been confirmed in any canon source. Also, Maccadam was rumored (albeit half-jokingly) to be one of the Thirteen in The Ultimate Guide, but this has not been touched upon since.
Within the Aligned continuity family, which exists separately from the rest of the Transformers multiverse, the full roster of the Thirteen is known. Each possesses a special artifact of great power that is tied to their identity and role in Primus' plan. Listed in the order of their creation by Primus, they are:
Prima - The leader of the Thirteen, a warrior of light who wielded the Star Saber.
Vector Prime - The master of time and space, which he could manipulate through his Blades of Time.
Alpha Trion - Holder of the Quill, which he uses to record the past, present, and future of Cybertron in the Covenant of Primus in his role as recordskeeper of the Primes.
Solus Prime - The master artificer and creator of many of the Primes' weapons through use of her incredible Forge. She was the first female Cybertronian.
Micronus Prime - The conscience of the Thirteen, and the first Mini-Con, able to link up with and enhance the power of his siblings through the use of his Chimera Stone.
Alchemist Prime - Student of the elemental structure of the natural world, aided in this by his Lenses, which allowed him to see further and deeper than anyone, in both material and spiritual senses. Co-founder of Cybertronian civilization with Alpha Trion.
Nexus Prime - The first and greatest combiner, granted the ability to divide himself into separate forms by his Enigma of Combination. Unpredictable, fascinated by change, and a lighthearted prankster.
Onyx Prime - The first beast-form Cybertronian, a primitive and spiritual being able to view other times, places, souls and even the afterlife through his three-faced Triptych Mask.
Amalgamous Prime - The joker of the Thirteen and the first Shifter, unpredictable and easygoing. He was first Cybertronian with the ability of transformation, granted him by his Transformation Cog, which became the basis for the cogs in all subsequent Trasnformer life.
Quintus Prime - A daydreamer and perfectionist whose drive to express his ideas led him to become a scientist. His artifact was the Emberstone, which gave him the ability to create life; the Quintessons were among his creations.
Liege Maximo - The manipulator. Though his artifact was notionally the toxin-loaded Legian Darts, his real skill was his ability to talk others into his way of thinking—a black art that ultimately caused the downfall of the Thirteen.
Megatronus - The warrior of darkness, Prima's opposite number, whose role as the necessary counterbalance set him apart from his fellow Primes. His artifact was the Requiem Blaster, created for him by Solus; this act began a doomed romance between the two that led to his turning on his brothers and becoming known as The Fallen.
Optimus Prime - The mediator of the Primes, who united the Thirteen by being the first among them to raise an arm in greeting. He would subsequently be reincarnated as Orion Pax.
Dreamwave Generation One comics
The Fallen was thwarted in his attempt to sabotage Primus' physical form, and the Thirteen allegedly died after casting the Fallen and his master Unicron through a black hole into another dimension. In truth, the Fallen was imprisoned in another dimension, while Alpha Trion kept watch over the Transformers in the Well of All Sparks and Primus entered his eternal sleep to hide from Unicron. Transformers: The Ultimate Guide
After Optimus Prime and Megatron were lost in a space bridge explosion, the Fallen was free from his prison in underspace, and returned to Cybertron. He immediately set about trying to undo the Seal of Primus that locked the Well of All Sparks. However, upon his success, the Fallen was promptly destroyed by his reawoken creator. Transformers: War Within: The Dark Ages
It was revealed long after the demise of Dreamwave that an issue was planned which involved the return of both Jetfire and the Fallen, meaning his "death" would not have been final. The Fallen would have appeared in a one-shot story entitled "The Enemy Within", when in the present, Jetfire discovered Shockwave broke the Seal for his cloning experiments. The Fallen's essence escaped and corrupted Sunstorm, and following his death, passed into Jetfire. Dreamwave's bankruptcy meant the story was never published.
Vector Prime aided the Autobots in finding the Cyber Planet Keys to close the Unicron Singularity. He regularly reported their progress to Alpha Trion, but during one visit Unicron's servants Ramjet and Nemesis Prime attacked. Balancing Act Skyfall came to Cybertron looking for clues to his past, only to be attacked by Dark Scorponok, Balancing Act, Part 2 but his forcefield protected him. Ramjet offered him clues to his past in exchange for his soul service. Balancing Act, Part 3 They went to Primus' spark core to destroy him with the Dead Matrix, but Vector and Sentinel Maximus fought back. Balancing Act, Part 4 Ramjet said he would stop trying to kill Primus if Vector aided them in restoring the balance by resurrecting Unicron, but he refused. Balancing Act, Pt 5 Skyfall tried to save Ramjet but his forcefield only ignited an explosion that killed Ramjet. Revelations Part 1 Vector had drones repair Skyfall and found Omega Prime—Trion's creation from a Viron universe—had helped Sentinel defeated Nemesis. Omega's presence saddened Vector, as it confirmed the multiverse was falling apart, and he left. Revelations Part 2
Skyfall was helping Sentinel repair Vector Sigma, when Over-Run informed him he had found a twenty-million-cycle-old carving of him and another bot. Revelations Part 4 Immediately during a battle between Mini-Con Autobots and Decepticons, Skyfall found Landquake. Revelations Part 5 The two seemingly vanished when Unicron attacked, Revelations Part 6 when they had been transported to Breakaway's universe, Crossing Over, Part 1 and the trio and went through a space bridge Crossing Over: Part 6 to find Topspin in Axiom Nexus. Cheetor and Silverbolt introduced the trio to Alpha Trion. However, Shockwave had Breakaway quietly subdued and taken to his laboratory. Transcendent: Part 1 Skyfall and Landquake realized Breakaway was gone, but Alpha Trion told them to come with him if they wanted to rescue their brother from the evil TransTechs. Transcendent: Part 2 He explained he was not from this dimension and was part of a resistance movement, introducing them to Topspin, whose job was to transfer their lowtech followers' sparks into their TransTech counterparts. Realizing Topspin was one of their kin, Skyfall and Landquake agreed to help. Transcendent: Part 3 Nightscream found Breakaway was being held near the portal to Alpha Trion's dimension, Transcendent: Part 4 and his acolytes attacked, rescuing Breakaway Transcendent: Part 5 and entering the transwarp device. Alpha Trion explained to Skyfall he was the key to the reunification, and killed him as they entered his universe. Transcendent: Part 6
Despite his claim his was a peaceful world, Alpha Trion shot Downshift, and Breakaway realized Skyfall had been killed by an energy blade rather than shot from behind as the old Autobot claimed. Alpha Trion's troops arrived, took the four components and he proclaimed he would kill them all—as reunification still worked with one of them dead—and that his reign would begin. Reunification: Part 1 Landquake manipulated the raw energon and used smokebombs to escape, with Topspin and Breakaway carrying Skyfall. Weeks later, after trying unsuccessfully to revive Skyfall, Reunification: Part 2 the Quintesson Aquarius appeared to take them to Megatron. Reunification: Part 3 Landquake explained their situation to the Decepticons, and Megatron asked Cyclonus to bring Heatwave, but then Cyclonus, revealing himself to be an agent of Alpha Trion, assassinated Megatron. Reunification: Part 4 Breakaway suggested they use their powers to revive Megatron, and found themselves in a white space with Skyfall and Primus. They made their choice: Nexus Prime was reborn. Reunification: Part 5 Nexus resurrected Megatron as Galvatron and defeated Omega Doom. Reunification: Part 6 Using Galvatron's gift of the stellar spanner, Nexus and Aquarius began dimension-hopping to find the shards of the artifact he had been entrusted with, so he could complete his memories. The Coming Storm: Part 1
Beast Wars Reborn
The original clan of Transformers, possessing extraordinary powers over space and time, were created by Primus before he became Cybertron. One of them, Logos Prime, lost sight of his objective and memory of him faded away. Planetfall He would return under the name of Soundblaster, abducting Optimus Primal and Megatron so he could apparently appoint Megatron as his successor. Vector Prime was sent by Primus to stop the plot and was taken aback when confronted with his fellow Ancient who he thought lost. Master of the Game
Live-action film series
The Primes were the guardians of the AllSpark, charged with replenishing it. They commanded Seekers and workers to find stars and replenish the AllSpark with their energy. The Fallen began seeing himself as the AllSpark's chosen one and began destroying solar systems with sentient life to replenish the Cube. His brothers warned him not to do it again, so The Fallen tried it again on Earth to lure them. Tales of the Fallen #3 The Fallen slaughtered all his brothers bar Prima himself, who gathered his brothers' lifeforce to trap The Fallen in his sarcophagus. Prima sacrificed himself to form a tomb with his brothers' bodies to hide the Matrix. Tales of the Fallen #4
A long time passed, and The Fallen was eventually dug up. From his prison, he pushed High Protector Megatron into forming the Decepticons. Defiance #2 Thousands of years later, Optimus Prime, the sole surviving descendant of the Primes to survive The Fallen's rampage, Revenge of the Fallen #3 had been killed. The Primes appeared to Sam Witwicky, giving him the Matrix to revive Optimus, and Optimus avenged The Fallen's brothers by killing him. Revenge of the Fallen
The Revenge of the Fallen adaptations have thirteen Primes. While designs were made for twelve non-Fallen Prime heads, the finished film shows only seven Primes, and this change was followed in Tales of the Fallen and the Titan magazine. Prima's appearance was retconned by Hasbro at BotCon 2010.
Legend says that Primus created the Thirteen to defeat Unicron. The Thirteen succeeded, and Unicron's defeated form was cast by them into space. One Shall Rise, Part 1
Statues of the Thirteen were created at some point after they defeated Unicron. One Shall Rise, Part 3
What is known about the Primes is that their war made "enemies of brothers, murderers of lovers, heroes of the insignificant, and cowards of the mighty". Allegiances formed and broke apart: Megatronus refused to bow before his brothers, and he believed he would be vindicated someday despite his destructive methods. The murder of one sent them across the stars, to battle among themselves for billions of cycles. Finally, there came a time when Prima had to relinquish the Matrix. Afterwards, the Covenant of Primus decreed Cybertron could only have one Prime at a time.
Alpha Trion remained on Cybertron, recording these events into the Covenant, and the Primes became myths doubted by some. Alpha Trion retreated into becoming the Archivist of the Hall of Records when Sentinel Prime, the High Council and the Guilds of Cybertron ignored his protests about the caste system. The Matrix did not bestow itself onto another until the unworthy Sentinel died, and Optimus Prime was imbued with it, while his nemesis had become known as Megatron, who like his namesake had come to destroy that he believed in. Exodus
Transformers: The Ultimate Guide asserts that all of the Thirteen were destroyed in the early battle between Primus and Unicron, but the statement was disproven by the book itself, since it recounted how The Fallen was not destroyed but exiled to a transdimensional prison from which he later escaped. Fun Publications comics would later depict Vector Prime as the sole surviving member of the Thirteen, and then go on to introduce Nexus Prime as a co-survivor alongside him.
In Hasbro Q&A on October, 2009 from The Allspark Forum, The Thirteen are referred to as "the Original Epic Warriors of Cybertron" by Hasbro.
The notion of the Primes being originally huge is similar to early Revenge of the Fallen concepts where the Fallen dwarfed Optimus and was almost the size of a pyramid, as evident from Defiance #4 and the novelization.
In "Primus: You, Me, and Other Revelations", James Roberts came up with a completely different creation story for IDW Publishing's Transformers, just because he can. There is still an original group of Transformers and a war caused by treachery, but in that version the traitor is another god named Mortilus.
- ↑ A Hasbro Q&A response would later try to alter this. See Notes above.
- ↑ Simon Furman panel, BotCon 2012
- ↑ Furman talks about the Thirteen in an interview on DeviantArt
- ↑ Sentinel Prime was one of a dynasty of Primes, stretching back to the original 13 Transformers and their leader, Prima. — Transformers: The Ultimate Guide (2005) 1st ed p15, "Sentinel Prime"
- ↑ Transformers: The Ultimate Guide
- ↑ Hasbro Q&A, September 2010: TFWiki.net
- ↑ Hasbro Q&A, September 2010: AllSpark.com